He was a giant in the world of leadership ideas and thought creation. He was well ahead of his time in concepts and philosophy that are only recently beginning to be accepted as good practices and thinking.
Although not a Christian (but Jewish) as far as I know, nonetheless many of his writings and thinking have a biblical worldview flavor. I have been, and still am, significantly influenced by him in the way I think about leadership and the way I lead.
Warren Bennis passed away July 31, 2014.
He was 89 and a fixture on the USC faculty for 35 years. He wrote 30 books, mostly on the topic of leadership. He knew and worked with Dallas Willard, another writer and USC faculty member, from whom I have greatly profited also. Dallas passed away May 8, 2013.
My favorite book by Warren is On Becoming A Leader
My favorite book by Dallas is Renovation of The Heart.
My favorite quote by Dallas is “Grace is not opposed to effort but to earning.”
Bennis also taught at MIT, but left because he felt pressured to conform to established business norms. In the 1960s, David Colker tells us, Bennis began formulating management principles that, at the time, were considered far off the beaten path. Gotta love it when a leader marches to a different drum beat that is well ahead of his time and spot on!
Sitting on my bookshelf are four Bennis books–just scratching the surface of the 30 he wrote.
Susan keeps her eyes open for things related to leadership and puts them on my desk, as she did this one.
Here are a few thoughts/quotes from an article in the LA Times. In quotations are actual statements by Bennis:
Warren started to hone his ideas about leadership during the 2nd World War, where he served as an infantry officer saying that, “Leadership is most effective when it steered away from strict, top-down hierarchies.”
“A leader is someone whose actions have the most profound consequences on other people’s lives, for better or for worse, sometimes for ever and ever.”
Warren believed that leaders had to abandon command-and-control attitudes that stifled creativity and new ideas. And he warned against micromanaging that could get companies stuck in outmoded ways of doing things while the world changed around them.
“The manager has his eye on the bottom line; the leader has his eye on the horizon.The manager does things right; the leader does the right things.”
I personally resonate with this and with most of what Bennis has said in the books I have read. I love it when a person sticks by his guns and does what is right, not what is popular or politically correct.
I believe that a leader is a person who intentionally, deliberately and proactively seeks to influence and persuade people to go from where they are to someplace else–a better place.
I believe that a true leader sees a better future and is strongly motivated to go there and take as many people as possible with him/her on the journey.
My prayer and desire for you (and myself) is that all of us will be led by Him, empowered by Him and honoring Him as we lead.
May your journey toward the preferred future Jesus has allowed you to see be faith-stretching and adventurous for you and those who travel with you.